We all know that people are busy, and health and safety or lone worker training can sometimes fall to the bottom of the list of things to do. If some of your employees work remotely or out in the field then this can make things even more tricky, with additional steps that have to be taken in order to comply with HSE standards and regulations.
According to UK law, employers must do everything they can to limit the risks posed to every employee - including lone workers. These measures should include training, supervision, monitoring and responding to incidents that do occur.
A targeted and straightforward approach is often best, allowing both employers and employees to adhere to guidelines set out by their company. In order to achieve this, workers must be given proper training that covers new and ongoing measures that are being taken to protect their wellbeing, and it is an organisation’s responsibility to provide this.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the best ways not only to craft a brilliantly simple lone working policy but also to encourage workers to understand and follow the rules it lays out.
Identify the benefits of lone worker training
The benefits of investing time, energy and potentially cash into good lone worker training may not be immediately apparent, especially if you’re a smaller operation. But any business that wants to take the health and wellbeing of their lone workers seriously needs to ensure that employees are aware of the ways in which they can also help protect themselves and everyone else from harm.
So while actually following the rules as detailed in your lone working policy is the responsibility of employees, ensuring that your health and safety rules and guidelines are effectively communicated to your workforce is a legal requirement of employers.
Comprehensive training with regular refresher courses helps share the burden of this obligation, making sure when circumstances do change that people at every level of the business are able to adapt quickly. This has never been more important than in 2020 when so many new health and safety issues have had to be taken into account.
If your company requires workers to operate heavy or specialised machinery, wear PPE or work in more high-risk areas and situations, lone worker training is a crucial part of not only maintaining safety but keeping productivity at a high level.
Write a simple lone working policy
Before you dive into creating a training programme you’ll need a top-notch lone working policy. With health and safety remaining a considerable concern for businesses right now, it’s essential to start with the basics when deciding what your own rules and regulations will be and how these will be communicated to your workforce.
A lone working policy is a vital part of lone worker training, taking the form of a written document that can be finessed and updated over time as your requirements change.
The reason for having clear, simple guidelines to follow is that, when dealing with lone workers, effective communication has to be a top priority to avoid confusion and mistakes. The steps you need to take to create a simple lone working policy are:
- Consider and identify the health and safety risks inherent to your industry.
- Take an inventory of hazards such as dangerous chemicals workers might come into contact with, machinery that needs to be used, or unavoidable risks such as working at height that must be undertaken.
- Speak with workers, asking them about their day to day challenges, and observe them as they work to uncover anything they haven’t mentioned.
- Look over previous incident reports to identify what could be missing from your current approach to health and safety.
- Choose a ‘competent’ person to be responsible for enforcing the policy.
Get the most out of lone worker training
Even if you have created the best lone working policy in the world, it’s close to useless if workers aren’t able to follow the rules. There are a few ways of doing this effectively, such as changing how the information is presented.
Create a checklist: Rather than a list of rules that are read over once and then neglected over time, you could give workers a checklist of safety requirements that must be followed before the start of each day. This would include things such as protective equipment, devices like lone worker alarms, and when to schedule breaks throughout the day.
Don’t neglect the details: If your health and safety policy includes the instruction to wear PPE while conducting certain tasks, then it should also include information on things like how to store it, how to put it on, and how to dispose of it after use.
Decide what you’ll do when rules are broken: Unfortunately, rules will be broken but, because in this case defiance of regulations could lead to severe consequences, it’s important that employees understand that disciplinary action could potentially be taken.
Keep talking to employees: There’s every chance that your policy won’t be perfect straight away, and this is why it’s essential to keep the lines of communication open between you and your team. If something isn’t working well or is even causing additional problems, then it’s essential to listen to feedback and address these concerns head-on.
Introduce new tools: If you don’t use one already, mobile workforce management software can be a pivotal part of being able to create and maintain agile and effective lone worker training. This is because all incidents of the past are recorded without direct input from the user, taking a step out of the process that can save time and energy best spent on other things.
Vatix’s Protector™ tool, for example, adds any alarms raised from a personal safety device or lone working app and logs them in a detailed and organised way that makes accessing data and information at a later date super-easy.
Regular lone worker training is the cornerstone of health and safety in business and, with a simple lone working policy and time taken to ensure everyone is on the same page, it doesn’t have to be a headache.
How can we help?
To find out more about how Vatix can help your business with its lone worker training, or if you are interested in our services, click here or call us on 020 3820 1857.